22-25 April – Four art professionals from Manchester

A group of four art professionals from Manchester will visit the Netherlands to connect the Greater Manchester art scene with the Dutch art scene. In 2019-2020 cultural institutions in Manchester and the Netherlands will organize the project HEADSPACE, a two year programme of co-operation and co-production. The project explores the impact that our environment has on our mental wellbeing. It will consider how artists might make interventions into different types of environment, in ways that can have a profound and lasting impact on mental health. How might artists from different practices influence, shape and inhabit urban spaces in ways combat social alienation, anxiety and depression? The project provides a unique space for cross-sectoral thinking and  reflection, where a range of perspectives from the Greater Manchester and Netherlands can come together and consider the most effective ways to deploy cultural activity for a social benefit.

The lead partner in the UK is SICK! Festival in Manchester. The festival faces up to the complexities of the mental and physical health. It presents an outstanding international arts programme, weaving in perspectives from academic research, clinical practitioners, public health professionals, charities and those with lived experience of the issues they address.

(This project is a collaboration with SICK! Festival, Dutch Culture centre for international cooperation and the Cultural Funds in the Netherlands.)

Dr. Tim Harrison
Creative Director Sick Festival

Tim Harrison has 17 years’ experience working in the arts across contemporary performance practices, digital media and visual arts. He has worked in a range of venues, festivals and agencies as a curator, programmer and producer. He has a particular interest in collaboration with partners in academia, public health and science.  Since joining Helen Medland in 2009, he has been integral to the growth and development of firstly The Basement and then SICK! Festival. His work focuses on the development of new commissions and on the contextual programme of talks and public debates, which place the voices artists alongside perspectives from other sectors with expertise in the thematics addressed. He has a PhD in Art History, focussing on the relationship between visual arts, science and religion in the Nineteenth Century.

Dr. Samantha Lackey
Head of Collection and Exhibitions, Whitworth Gallery, The University of Manchester
Senior Curator, Programmes


Dr. Samantha Lackey is Head of Collection and Exhibitions at the Whitworth, which she joined in 2016. She has curated exhibitions on and with Andy Warhol, Steve McQueen and Cecily Brown at the gallery. She previously worked as curator at The Hepworth Wakefield, where she was part of the team that opened the gallery in 2011, and led on exhibitions and events including Martin Parr: The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories (2016), Wild Girl: Gertrude Hermes (2015), Plasters: Casts & Copies (2015), Folkert de Jong (2015) Philip-Lorca diCorcia (2014) and the collaborative performance between Linder Sterling and Northern Ballet, The Ultimate Form (2013). Her original specialism was in Surrealist film; in 2005 she completed a PhD that focused on the relationship between early psychology and theories of attention to surrealist film and has published  on the subject. Following this research Lackey worked as a lecturer at the University of Manchester and a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Studies in Surrealism and its Legacies before moving to curating, at the Whitworth on the Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art (2009) exhibition.

Helen Medland
Artistic Director / CEO Sick Festival

Helen Medland has over 25 years of experience working across performance disciplines including theatre, music, dance and live art. Helen has been the creator and driving force behind the growth of the ground-breaking venue ‘The Basement’ Brighton (2001 – 2015)) and the award-winning SICK! Festival, Manchester (2013 – present). She oversaw the organisation’s transition from a venue focused organisation, delivering an annual international programme for the presentation and creation of contemporary performance to the exceptional new and exciting SICK! Festival, Manchester, a biennial cross art form festival confronting the physical, mental and social challenges of life.

Irini Papadimitriou
Artistic Director Future Everything 

Irini Papadimitriou is a curator, producer and cultural manager, working at the forefront of digital culture in the UK and internationally. Currently Creative Director at FutureEverything, an innovation lab and arts organisation in Manchester, she was previously Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A, responsible for the annual Digital Design Weekend festival and Digital Futures among other programmes; and Head of New Media Arts Development at Watermans, where she curated the exhibition programme, exploring digital culture from a critical perspective and the impact of technology in society. Her most recent exhibition, Artificially Intelligent, was on display at the V&A until December 2018. She has been a co-curator for the Art + Data experience at Mozilla Festival and a co-founder of Maker Assembly, a critical gathering about maker culture: its meaning, politics, history and future.